November 28, 2015
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Blood in the Stool (Rectal Bleeding) (cont.)

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Can rectal bleeding (blood in the stool) be prevented?

Most diseases that cause rectal bleeding are likely preventable, but it often is not possible.

  • Hemorrhoids can be avoided with proper diet and hydration to prevent constipation and straining to pass stool, but normal pregnancy increases the risk of hemorrhoid formation as does the patient with an acute diarrheal illness.
  • Avoiding constipation also decreases the risk of diverticulosis, outpouchings in the lining of the colon, and the risk of a diverticular bleed but this may be a consequence of a Western diet.
  • Alcohol abuse increases the risk of rectal bleeding in a variety of ways, from directly irritating the lining of the GI tract, to decreasing clotting capabilities of blood.

What is the prognosis of rectal bleeding (blood in the stool)?

The prognosis depends upon the underlying diagnosis. Fortunately, the cause of rectal bleeding is often benign, due to hemorrhoids or an anal fissure.

It is important to never ignore blood in the stool or rectal bleeding. It may be a clue to a serious illness and the earlier a diagnosis can be made, the better the chance for a cure.


Penner, R. M., MD, et al. "Blood in the stool (rectal bleeding) in adults (Beyond the Basics)." UpToDate. Updated Sep 3, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/29/2015


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